Stadium in a shabby mess, Chennai aims to make a comeback on the global tennis tour
Absent from the global tennis tour since 2018, Chennai is eying to return with more ATP and WTA events on the calendar, according to TNTA President Vijay Amritraj.
Missing from the limelight for quite a few years ever since the ATP 250 Chennai Open shifted bases to Pune, Maharashtra in 2018, the SDAT Stadium in Nungambakkam has been gathering dust, debris and bird faeces.
However, pleasant tidings and much-needed changes may soon be around the corner after Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA) President, Vijay Amritraj indicated that Chennai is very likely to return to the global tennis map soon and is eying both WTA and ATP events.
A series of pictures shared by a The Indian Express journalist showed the poor state of the SDAT Stadium where the likes of Rafa Nadal, and Stan Wawrinka have previously played during the Chennai Open days.
With the pandemic proving villain and the Chennai Open also shifting to Pune and being re-branded as the Maharashtra Open, the stadium has fallen into a state of disarray with one stand completely filled with bird faeces and dirt. However, Amritraj intends for this to change and has assured a stadium revamp to take place soon.
"I had a very good meeting with the honourable chief minister and he wants an event this year," Amritraj said to TIE. "Hoping we will be able to make an announcement soon," the legendary player conveyed.
On Monday, Amritraj met several high-ranking officials of the state government, including the chief minister, MK Stalin, sometime in the last month to discuss the prospects of bringing Chennai back on the global tennis map.
In fact, the CM, during an address in the assembly last week, had announced the government's intentions to revive the Chennai Open, the annual ATP 250 event that had its final edition in the city in 2018, bringing a 21-year-old era to an end.
First off though, Amritraj wants to start the WTA events and is looking to organise it after the US Open this year and before the winter monsoon starts down South.
"We will start with a WTA tour 250 event this year and hopefully get an ATP event next year. Chennai has not had a women's event and it is important for us to encourage the girls in the state," Amritraj mentioned.
On the other hand, Maharashtra's tenure for the ATP 250 event will also expire after the 2023 season, making Chennai a steady bidder again.
But Amritraj seems to have other intentions and hopes the events will increase and the tennis culture in India will also get a boost.
"No, it would be a different one. They are drawing up the calendar as we speak. It will be nice if Chennai can follow the Pune event," he mentioned, hopeful of having one more tournament of the ATP standard in the country.